Berlin Philharmonic – Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany

The Beat Goes On

For years, the classical music scene in Germany meant one man, one orchestra, one city: Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester. Founded in 1882, with the arrival of von Karajan the Philharmonic developed into the world’s pre­mier orchestra. Following the maestro’s death in 1989, Italian-born Claudio Abbado stepped in, and in September 2002, the baton passed to Sir Simon Rattle.

The orchestra’s home is the Philharmonie am Kulturforum, a 1960s building designed by Hans Scharoun that has its share of avid fans and detractors.

The regularly sold-out audience of 2,400, seated on nine levels surrounding the stage, enjoys unmatched visibility (no seat is more than 100 feet from the stage) and acoustics. Choice seats, understandably, are those with a head-on view of the conductor

During the her­alded Berliner Festwochen (Berlin Festival Weeks), celebrating excellence in music and the arts, tickets are close to impossible to find. Concierges at first-class and deluxe hotels do their best to work miracles for guests.

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